As chief legal officers of their states, attorneys general have numerous responsibilities during emergency situations and face many challenges before, during, and after disasters.

Whether responding to mass shootings, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, cyberattacks, or any other emergency, attorneys general are regularly called upon to react in the heat of the chaotic moment, managing the many crises caused by nature’s power or human’s action. Preparedness is critical to increasing the efficiency and the effectiveness of response and safety.

From mass shootings and civil unrest to accidental spills or structure collapses, attorney general offices play many critical roles in response to manmade disasters, including:

  • Consumer protection
  • Victim services
  • Communications
  • Continuity of critical operations
  • Coordination with local, state, and federal partners

Explore the role of attorneys general in disaster preparedness and response.

Legal Issues

As the chief legal officer of their state, attorneys general must be prepared to address and advise on a variety of legal issues before, during, and after an emergency or natural disaster.

Learn more about the legal issues attorneys general address during and after disasters.

These critical legal areas include:

  • Emergency Powers
  • Searches
  • Evacuation: Liability, Federal Assistance
  • Police Powers: Detention, Curfew
  • State-Federal Relations
  • Consumer Protection
  • Charities

Disaster Preparedness and Response Publications

Responding to Mass Violence Incidents: A Checklist for State and Territory Attorneys General

Following the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Music Festival shooting in Las Vegas, NAAG mobilized to develop a concise checklist for attorneys general offices to use as a guide when preparing for and responding to an incident of mass violence.

Mass Violence book cover image
  • Disaster Preparedness & Response

Mass Violence Response Checklist

Learn More →

Disaster Preparedness Manual and Resource Guide for State Attorneys General

Published in December 2019, the third edition of Disaster Preparedness Manual and Resource Guide for State Attorneys General is specifically designed to assist the state attorney general community in preparing for disasters of all kinds. It includes lessons learned from attorney general offices, summaries of key legal issues, a prepared disaster checklist, and templates and examples that can serve as useful guides.

View additional resources for attorneys general.

Courses and Trainings

Mass Violence
  • Disaster Preparedness & Response

Combatting Mass Violence

Learn More →

Policy Letters

  • Disaster Preparedness & Response
  • Extremism and Hate Crimes

NAAG Sends Letter to USDOJ Condemning January 6 Violence at U.S. Capitol

We all just witnessed a very dark day in America. The events of January 6 represent a direct, physical challenge to the rule of law and our democratic republic itself. Together, we will continue to do our part to repair the damage done to institutions and build a more perfect union. As Americans, and those charged with enforcing the law, we must come together to condemn lawless violence, making clear that such actions will not be allowed to go unchecked.

Learn More →
  • Disaster Preparedness & Response
  • Public Health

NAAG Urges Congress to Pass Safeguarding America’s First Responders Act

This legislation ensures that families of officers and first responders lost while fighting the pandemic do not face unnecessary barriers to benefits they have already been promised.

Learn More →
  • Disaster Preparedness & Response
  • Public Health

NAAG Supports Equal Coronavirus Relief Funding for the District of Columbia

We believe that the District should receive $1.25 billion for purposes of the relief package. The District has nearly 200 confirmed coronavirus cases, which outpaces nearly two dozen states and territories. Indeed, as a densely populated urban center, the District is uniquely vulnerable to the spread of the virus and is already experiencing significant economic loss due to the ongoing public health emergency.

Learn More →

Relevant Articles